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Surgery - Do we want it or are we in fear of it?

dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,609
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Matters of the Heart
Surgery, Spinal Surgeries, any kind os surgery is something that we all need to look at, digest, talk it over with our families, etc.

The impacts of surgery go far beyond what it means to the patient. Just think about how much your loved one has to deal with when you go through surgery, recover from it, etc.
They put in so much additional work....

But, my subject here is the actual surgery!

Once you have been told that surgery is the only answer, the only remedy for your condition, how do you deal with it?

After 7+ spinal surgeries, 2 complete shoulder replacements and an upcoming hip replacement ( and so the other hip and knees to be replaced ), I think about surgery all the time.

At times, the thought about it depresses mean and I dwell on some of the negatives about surgery. Then there are so many times, when I welcome the surgery, because I know its going to eliminate my current pain and discomfort.

But, what is it that you think about before surgery and right up to the point when you have the surgery done?


  • Hi Ron!

    My prior ones, relief - hope that this surgery will make life normal or close to normal again!

    This one (fairly big), validation that what I suspected was wrong was, but a bit sad in that the damage was far worse than it should have had to have gotten! Relief in that my risks for paralysis will be addressed and reduced soon.

    Not looking forward to the recovery, but too not looking forward to ignoring the obvious either anymore. I know I get really short tempered the day before surgery since I know I forgot something - but can't remember what. The what of course in the long run really is nothing, but my patience gets too short the day before. The morning of the surgery, I am back to my joking and happy self!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,109
    I have had 7 surgeries and it is always fear for me, Yes I welcome them knowing there will be relief of pain but the fear of what if something goes wrong. What if I wake up in worse shape then before the surgery. Ron on my 6th surgery I don't know why I felt this way but I just knew I was going to die from the surgery, I even went out and bought a suit to be buried in so my mother wouldn't have to worry about what to bury me in. I can remember so clearly to this day, when the anesthesiologist put the mask on my face and told me to start counting backwards from ten I was thinking to myself it is all right Susan because if you die the pain will be gone. I had even written a letter to my son and left instructions with my sister that if something were to happen to me, I told her where the letter was and to give it to my son for me. I had even pulled out my life insurance policy and set it on my dresser so the family would not have a problem finding it. So Its obvious my biggest fear was of dying during surgery.
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  • I've only had two spine surgeries (after nothing else worse than having my wisdom teeth out), but I think the first one is the worst. If you've never had one before, then I think that the immensity and intensity of it really scares you because you don't know if you'll just survive it. It's also very difficult because you don't know what to expect in the hospital or at home, if you'll have caring nurses, if they'll keep your pain at bay in the hospital, what to have at home for your recovery, how long recovery will take, etc.

    With the second one, many of those things are eliminated, except for the thoughts of not making it through and what to expect after afterwards, with regards to recovery and the pain it might entail. It's not a whole lot easier, but somewhat.

    I seriously doubt that no matter how many surgeries you have, you're scared before each one for different reasons. But with all of them there's hope for having a better life after recovery and getting back to normal, even if it's a new normal (which I think we all have planted in our heads, a new normal).

    For me personally, I get anxious and nervous. I do everything I can to take my mind off of it right up until it's time. But having complete confidence in my surgeon has been key to not "going over the edge," as well as the support of family and friends. And knowing (or hoping) that it will help at least the worst of the symptoms also keeps my outlook positive.

    If only we could always remember, as clear as day, that the anticipation is worse than the surgery itself in most cases, would be a blessing. I felt that way both times.

  • I have never been scared of surgery really, some what nervous, as for the unknown, but that is it. I have always taken the approach get this done and get on the path to recovery. My major goal was always to get back to work as soon as possible. So I have no fear of surgery, but I also don't want them either. If I never see the inside of a operating room it will be to soon for me. It is just something in life I could do without.

    As I sit here and write this I know I need other surgeries, but for now I will stay with conservative treatments and hopefully stay out of the OR's. I am very aware surgery can make you worse, while we hope for the best. So my staying out of the OR's is my new goal.
  • and what is wrong with having both occur at the same time?

    It isn't necessarily just 1 or the other.

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  • I think of death for sure. When you already seen someone go in a surgery and come out on the other end as i have with my dad dead. I just cant help having the flash back of same thing hapening to me.

    I think its a realistic reaction when its a fact that it does hapen and worse feeling is you know you can come out worse then you are now.

    I have more fear of coming out of surgery worse then i am now more so then death.

    My adr surgery was the 1 st surgery i ever had and it made me worse so i had much more fear of the 2nd and 3rd. And with very good reason. As many dr,s told me now days. When you have that 1 st surgery is the key if you had good results or not. Because further surgeries sometimes just never correct the problems arising from the 1 st,

    Surgery is risky business anywhere on the spine. When it fails, it fails bad.
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • For me my mind and emotions were all over the place as I never went thru a major surgery before.

    I thought about death,not so much for myself but for my wife and what my passing would mean to her,how would she be able to take care of the house and yard,the bills ect..,would she be able to sell the house quick enough as it would be to much for her to handle on her own.

    I got out all the insurance paperwork and put them on the kitchen counter for my wife the night before.

    I thought about the possibility of paralysis/complications and how I would manage should that happen.

    I wondered how I would be able finish the various projects I had going on around my house as most of them required heavy lifting ,digging or climbing up ladders.

    Now with my second back surgery coming up soon I still think about the same things but at a much calmer pace if that makes any sense.

  • I can't say I've ever really wanted the surgeries, but then again, if I didn't why did I have them? They weren't a life or death situation. I can definitely say I feared them. Not of dying, I almost died once of sepsis, and I actually came to terms with that. I've always figured that when I die, it's just my time to go and that's it. My worse fear came true, I woke up with paralysis. But, it's not the end of the world. You find your way around it, different ways of doing things, and don't give up. I'm lucky in that I have had some improvement which gives me hope that someday I'll get full use of my arm back but if I don't well, I know that I can still get around it. I'll be the first to admit though, it can frustrate me to no end a lot of the time. Do I regret it though? No, because that surgery did help with the symptoms it was meant to, the level below just happened to go, lol. If it's not one thing it's another and now I'm avoiding the next surgery.... Of course now my ns is afraid to touch me, lol.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
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